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NIDS would reduce cybersecurity breaches – Chang

Published:Friday | December 6, 2019 | 12:25 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


In a sustained pitch for the introduction of the revised National Identification System (NIDS), Jamaica’s national security minister has championed the new framework as a bufffer to the global reach of identity theft that has rendered traditional passports obsolete.

NIDS has stoked controversy from its inception to its passage into law.

Promoted by the Holness Government as a game-changing and cutting-edge identification system that would ease business and give greater state accountability, the National Identification and Registration Act, which underpinned NIDS, was deemed “null and void and of no effect” in a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

Rights lobbyists argued that the legislation overreached privacy boundaries. NIDS divided opinion partly because it was mandatory and would criminalise non-compliance.

But Dr Horace Chang has insisted that birth certificates, driver’s licences, and other forms of identity have no place in the modern world because of their vulnerability, said Chang, while addressing a delegation of experts from Latin America and the Caribbean at the inaugural staging of a cybersecurity and cybercrime workshop in Montego Bay on Tuesday.

According to Chang, the second coming of NIDS, when tabled and passed into law, would provide Jamaicans with a single means of identification that would transcend geographical borders.

“Many of us in the Caribbean, we are from, largely, the English-speaking jurisdiction with laws based on the Magna Carta, and the constitutions given to us by the former colonial masters are some very rigged constitutions, especially in protecting the individual rights,” the minister told the audience.

Chang sought to give the assurance that the recrafting of NIDS would allow for strong reliance on constitutional considerations.

“Oftentimes, it has challenged the legal fraternity to find the kind of legal framework to ensure we can use legislation like the National Identification System,” he added.